FRIDAY, Feb. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The number of coronavirus cases among Americans jumped to 34 Friday, as U.S. health officials reported that more passengers who were evacuated from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the virus.
"We have 13 U.S. cases, versus 21 cases among people who were repatriated," Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a media briefing Friday. "The repatriated cases include 18 passengers from the Diamond Princess [cruise ship] and three from the Wuhan repatriation flights. However, nearly everyone evacuated in the special flights from Wuhan have finished their 14-day quarantine, Messonnier added.
Of the Diamond Princess patients who are now in the United States, 11 are receiving care at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, five are receiving care around Travis Air Force Base in northern California, and two are being cared for around Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Messonnier said. "Because the passengers on the Diamond Princess were in a close setting where there has been a significant spread of COVID-19, they are considered at high risk for infection and we do expect to see additional confirmed cases," she noted. Ten more passengers from the Diamond Princess tested positive for coronavirus in Japan, but they are not being counted among the infected yet because the tests have not been confirmed by the CDC.
"We never expected that we would catch every single traveler with novel coronavirus returning from China, given the nature of this virus and how it's spreading," Messonnier said during the briefing. "That would be simply impossible." Instead, the measures being taken are buying health officials time for a response before the virus gains a foothold in the United States, she explained.